Satoru Iwata, the CEO of Nintendo, has died, The Guardian confirms. Iwata passed on Saturday (July 11) at age 55 after a battle with cancer. A programmer himself until he assumed Nintendo's top role in 2002, Iwata was recently navigating the gaming company through strategy shifts in an attempt to keep up with recent competitors such as mobile gaming companies.

Video game developer Bungie tweeted a quote attributed to Iwata, words that reflect a deep love for what he did: "On my business card, I am a corporate president. In my mind, I am a game developer. But in my heart, I am a gamer."

According to the Guardian, in 2014 Iwata said he would cut his salary in half to atone for Nintendo's ailing balance sheet, as Microsoft and Sony both eclipsed them in console sales. Nintendo had long resisted pressure to abandon console-based games in favor of mobile apps, but Iwata had recently made moves to keep up with shifting market demand. "The world is changing, so any company that is not coping with the change will fall into decline,” he said.

This past March, Nintendo announced plans to purchase a stake in a Tokyo-based mobile gaming company, DeNA, as part of a deal to develop smartphone games based on their popular characters.

Gamers and professional colleagues expressed their sadness online following the news of Iwata's death, and many paid tribute with a series of amazing visuals. Check out some of the standouts below.



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